YMCA Camp Ockanickon has a new name …. YMCA of the Pines
12/20/2018 08:41 AM

Mark Dibble, CEO of YMCA Camp Ockanickon in Medford, announced this week that the 112-year-old organization will officially change its name to YMCA of the Pines, effective December 12, 2018.

Dibble explained that the new name – YMCA of the Pines - will reflect the true nature of the year-round organization that for decades has been known primarily as a summer camp.

“Many people don’t realize that our reach and impact extend far beyond our popular summer camps – Ockanickon for boys, Matollionequay for girls and co-ed Lake Stockwell Day Camp,” Dibble said, explaining the rationale for the name change. “We impact the lives of children, teens and families 52 weeks a year. During non-summer months, we offer before- and after-school childcare, teen leadership, family programs, outdoor education and recreation programs, corporate teambuilding and retreats, school trips, conferences and financial aid for those in need. We’re so much more than a summer camp!”

The CEO said he wants to reassure the community that the name change has nothing to do with a merger or a buy-out. “This was an internal decision, stemming from discussions that began well over a year ago,” he said. “We haven’t been taken over; we haven’t been bought out. We still have the same key team members on our staff and board of directors. We will continue to be good neighbors and to be there to meet community needs.”

Dibble explained that in recent years, it became apparent that having the organization’s name the same as the boys camp name created confusion and limited the public’s perception of the nonprofit organization.

“While YMCA Camp Ockanickon is well known in the South Jersey community and beyond, we wanted a name and a vision that is inclusive of all of our camps and departments,” the CEO added. “We want people to know that while our name is changing, we aren’t changing. We’re just positioning ourselves to better serve the community. In fact, our organization’s vision statement is ‘a better world for all,’ and we’re truly committed to that concept.”

The organization was established in 1906 as a place for young men to spend their summers while strengthening their characters. The camp’s name honors Ockanickon, chief of the Mantas Lenape tribe and an early Native American friend to the settlers in Burlington County. In 1937, the girls camp, Matollionequay, was added, named for Chief Ockanickon’s wife. In 1990, Lake Stockwell Day Camp was started to give local children more summer options. (Interestingly, the day camp name has no Native American connection; Stockwell was the lawyer who brokered the land purchase for the camp.)

“We’re very proud of the historic name Ockanickon, and we’re certain that it conjures endless happy memories for generations of campers,” Dibble said. “And Ockanickon is still the name of our boys camp, so it’s still part of who we are. But we’re confident that the name YMCA of the Pines will better represent who we are and where we are – in the heart of the Pine Barrens. We’re excited for this change, and we hope the community will embrace our new name, too.”

YMCA of the Pines is an interfaith, charitable association dedicated to helping children, teens and families explore, grow, thrive and ultimately become the best version of themselves. It is located on 800 acres off Stokes Road in Medford. For more information, reach out at info@ycamp.org or call 609-654-8225.
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